But, what you may not realize is that it’s a healthful choice, too. Here’s why:
1. Most cheeses are a good to excellent source of calcium. In fact, cheese is the No. 2 source of dietary calcium for Americans.
2. Cheese can be an important source of calcium, even for those with lactose intolerance. Natural cheeses, like Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss contain minimal amounts of lactose, because most of the lactose is removed when the curds are separated from the whey during the cheese-making process.
3. Cheese also provides high-quality protein, as well as phosphorus, vitamin A and zinc, which we need to help stay healthy.
4. Natural cheeses are gluten-free. In the case of cheeses that have added flavors or are processed, check the food label’s ingredient list to make sure ingredients sourced from wheat, barley or rye aren’t added.
5. Cheese may help children – and adults – eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains thanks to tasty pairings.
6. Cheese is a complex food made from a few simple ingredients: milk, salt, a starter culture or "good bacteria" and an enzyme called rennet.
7. There are so many different varieties of cheese that there’s likely one that can fit into your preferences.
8. Cheese provides only 5 percent of the calories in the U.S. diet.
To learn more about cheese and how it can fit into your diet, click here.